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tv   Charlie Rose  PBS  January 13, 2011 12:00pm-1:00pm PST

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>> rose: welcome to our program. tonight, president obama's in tucson, arizona, with an important speech. we'll put it in context and show you excerpts from the speech. >> if this tragedy prompts reflection and debate, as it should, let's make sure it's worthy of those we have lost. ( applause ) >> rose: also this evening, religious historian, karen armstrong puts compassion and religion and dialogue in relevance to today's rhetoric and today's times. >> so much of our discourse, political, in the media, in academia, is so vicious. it's often the way we conduct our debates and dialogues, very
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different from the socratic dialogue, which had to be conducted with gentleness, socrates said -- >> socrates said conduct dialogue with gentleness. >> yes, no one must be pushed where he doesn't want to go, there must be a cord between participants. when we say we're going to enter into dialogue with x., it means we want to bludgeon him into our point of view. >> rose: president obama in arizona, and karen armstrong on religion when we continue. to have more exposure to the arts. maybe you want to provide meals for the needy.
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or maybe you want to help when the unexpected happens. whatever you want to do, members project from american express can help you take the first step. vote, volunteer, or donate for the causes you believe in at membersproject.com. take charge of making a difference. captioning sponsored by rose communications from our studios in new york city, this is charlie rose. >> rose: president obama was in tucson, arizona, this evening carrying with him a nation's
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shock and grief. he spoke earlier this evening at a ceremony to honor the victims of saturday's mass shooting. the memorial eventt university of arizona was called, "together we thrive-- tucson and america." the president is said to have spent part of the week personally working on the speech. barack obama understands the power of words and the moment they give a president to make his words an expression of the nation's grief. he understands he has the opportunity to make it a defining for him about who he iss who we are. other presidents have done it before. here is president buivel after 9/11. >> i can hear you, the rest of the world hear you yo, and the people-- ( cheers and applause ) and the people who knocked these buildings down will hear all of us soon ( cheers and applause ) >> rose: and president clinton after the oklahoma city bombing. >> one thing we owe those who have sacrificed is the duty to
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purge ourselves of the dark forces which gave rise to this evil ( applause ) they are forces that threaten our common peace, our freedom, our way of life. let us teach our children that the god of comfort is also the god of righteousness. those who trouble their own house will inher the wind. just will prevail. >> rose: and president reagan after the explosion in space. >> the crew of the spults "challenger" honored us in the manner in which they lived their lives. we will never forget them, nor the last time we saw them, this morning, as they prepared for their journey and waved good-bye and slipped the surly bonds of earth to touch the face of god.
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thank you. >> rose: president obama used speeches to win the presidency from his first big appearance at the democratic national convention in 2004 sohis speech in philadelphia when he felt it necessary to talk about race in america. >> there is not a liberal america and a conservative america. there is the united states of america. ( cheers and applause ) there is not a black america. and a white mirk. and latino america, and asian america. there's the united states of america. >> the fact is that the comment that have been made and the issues that have surfaced over the last few weeks reflect the complexities of race in this country that we've never really worked through. a parent of our union that we have not yet made perfect. and if we walk away now, if we simply retreat into our respective corners, we will never be able to come together and solve challenges like health care or education or the need to
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find good jobs for every american. >> rose: president obama came to the podium tonight after others from the university community and elsewhere had spoken. the president remembered the victims. >> there is nothing i can say that will fill the sudden hole torn in your heart. but know this-- the hopes of a nation are here tonight. we mourn with you for the fall fallen. we join you in your grief. >> rose: he spoke of congresswoman giffords. >> a few minutes after we left her room and some of her colleagues from congress were in the room, gabby opened her eyes for the first time. ( cheers and applause ) gabby opened her eyes for the first time. >> rose: he singled out those who had acted so courageously.
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>> our heart are full of gratitude for those who saved others. we are grateful to daniel hernandez, a volunteer in gabby's office. and, daniel, i'm sorry, you may deny it, but we decided you are a hero, because you ran through the chaos to minister to your boss and tended to her wounds and helped keep her alive. ( cheers and applause ) ( applause ) we are grateful to the men who
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tackled the gunman as he stopped to reload. ( cheers and applause ) they're right over there. we are grateful for petite patricia maisch, who wrestled away the killer's ammunition, and undoubtedly saved some lives. ( cheers and applause )
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and we are grateful for the doctors and nurses and first responders who worked wonders to heal those who had been hurt. >> rose: the president did not point the finger at anyone. >> none of us can know exactly what triggered this vicious attack. none of us can know with any certainty what might have stopped these shots from being fired. or what thoughts lurked in the inner recesses of a violent ma man's mind. yes, we have to examine all the facts behind this tragedy. we cannot and will not be passive in the face of such violence. we should be willing to challenge old assumptions in order to lessen the prospects of such violence in the future. ( cheers and applause )
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but what we cannot do is use this tragedy as one more occasion to turn on each other. ( cheers and applause ) that we cannot do. that we cannot do. as we discuss these issues, let each of us do so with a good dose of humility roorn pointing fingers or assigning blame. let's use this occasion to
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expand our moral imaginations. to listen to each other more carefully. to sharpen our instincts for empathy. and remind ourselves of all the ways that our hopes and dreams are bound together. >> rose: but he did speak of the larger thooshz act of violence and death has provoked across the nation. >> if this tragedy prompts reflection and debate, as it should, let's make sure it's worthy of those we have lost. ( applause ) let's make sure it's not on the unusual plane of politics and point scoring and pettiness that drifts away in the next news cycle.
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the loss of these wonderful people should make every one of us strive to be better, to be better in our private lives, to be better friends and neighbors, coworkers and parents. and if, as has been discussed in recent days, their death helps uivener more civility in our public discourse, let us remember it is not because a simple lack of civility caused this tragedy. it did not. but rather because only a more civil and honest public discourse can help us face up to the challenges of our nation in a way that would make them proud. ( applause ) >> rose: president obama in arizona today expressing his grief and the nation's grief. later, the president flew back to washington. on thursday and friday we'll have reaction to the president's speech and look at this week in
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which america anguished over death, promising lives, violence, and disturbed minds, and with the questioning what to do next? we'll be right back. stay with us. karen armstrong is here. she is one of today a leading religious historians. the "financial times" calls her an ambassador for all that is best in the great religions of the world. a former nun, she lost her faith and then found it again by writing about religion. some of her most well-known works are "a history of god" "jerusalem" "the battle for god." her new book is about compassion in the major faith traditions and also in our lives. it is called "12 steps to a compassionate life." i'm very pleased to have her back on this program. welcome. >> thank you. >> rose: what happened after you 11 the convent? >> well, after i left the convent, i went into a state of
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depression for about six years. >> rose: six years? >> six years. >> it's like a bereavement or really bad divorce. the kind of training we had was a conditioning. and really quite strong conditioning. once you're outside the context where that conditioning makes sense, it's very difficult to know how to live. i mean, i was anorexic and suicidal. and not because i wanted to die particularly but because, as i said, i had no idea how to conduct my life. and i missed the 1960s. i entered in 1962 and left in 1969 and heard my first beatle's record in 197070s. >> rose: and what is that? >> i couldn't quite see what all the fuss was about. it meant nothing to me. that whole context of that immense social revolution, it completely passed me by. >> rose: you left the church
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because? >> i left the church-- silver years after i left the conconsequent. it just fell away from me. i'd tried with every bit in my body to be a holy person, and yet while i was a nun, i couldn't pray, for example, which is a bit of a downer for a nun ( laughter ) , you know, i can concentrate on my studies for hours at a time. i don't even notice the time going by but as soon as i would kneel down to make my meditation my wind would go skittering off. and i expected inge i had a very inadequate perception of god. i was expecting some kind of answer to prayer, and, of course pheaven seemed to remain closed, and god sort of slipped away from me without any drama. although the drama was coming out of the convent and coping with life, but god had-- i, as
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it were, had sort of opened myself to god, and god had just not been there so he vanished away. and i thought, that's it. i'm finished with religion now. and when i used to see people on the london underground reading books about religion, i'd think how awful. never thinking one day i'd be writing some of these books. >> rose: that's what i want to know. what was it that got you from that point to becoming a kind of very, very distinguished historian of religion and someone who was on television and someone who has had a rema remarkable sense. >> well, what happened, i wanted to be an academic, teaching english literature but i failed my ph.d., and then i went into school teaching, and i failed in that because of my health. i'm an epileptic, and they asked me to leave the profession. and then, out of the blue, i got asked, because of my religious background to, make a six-part
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series working in jerusalem with an israeli film company. and i of course said yes. i was unemployed. and i went to work in jerusalem. and there, for the first time, i was confronted by other faiths. i mean, i never thought of judaism really as anything but a kind of prelude to christianity and i'd never given islam a thought at awe. but there are you in jerusalem with these three faith jostling, often uneasily, even at the same sacred sites and you realize the profound connection between them as well as their significant differences, and i started doing other television work, like you, doing interview programs, and having to find out about islam, buddhism, and sloil, i started realizing there were all kinds of different perspectives on religion that had passed me by in my convent.
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so then my television career folded. and i went off to write a book called "a history of god." and i expected it to follow the somewhat skeptical line of its predecessors, thinking that, well, you know, people had just re-jigged the idea of god to suit the circumstances. but this time it was different. i was now sort of washed up. i was living in a very remote part of london because i had no money, and all my television friends had melted away, and there was no one to egg me on to be outrageous and clever. and i was working in silence. and theology is poetry, and you need to approach it in a sort of receptive way. you can't read a complicated sonnet in a nightclub. and in this atmosphere of
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silence, the text started to speak to me in a different way. i could begin to relate to them in a poetic way, and i started seeing that there was much in judaism and islam, first of all, all,. i was beginning to discover things about faith that helped me to see what my own catholic tradition had been trying to do at its best. so the whole experience deepened, and i think that book was a change for me. >> rose: and you had become what in the process? >> i'd become what? you mean, what kind of religion? gloadz yeah. a believer? >> no, i don't set much. >> rose: you said once if someone asked me do i believe in god i would say no. >> the word "belief" has changed the meaning.
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ititudes mean the word " "beleaven" in middle english meant to love, to commit yourself. it's relate to the german lieber, beloved, and the latin libido. it's only in the late 17th century that people like newton start to talk about belief in a somewhat dubious proposition. meaning intellectual ascent. and so when jesus is asking f faith in the gospels, pistuous is the greek word for that. it means commitment. and the st. james people used believer for it. so jesus is not asking people to believe he is the incarnate son of god. he'd be rather surprise bide this idea, i think. he was asking for commitment for people who would be ready to work exphaert soul for the kingdom, to live rough, to live like the birds of the air and the lizards of the field, to
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give all they had to the poor, and work for-- to make the rule of god a vibrant reality in the world so that rich and poor could sit together at the same table disploaz have we lost that jesus? >> that jesus is overlaid with many, many different-- there's the devotional jesus. in fact, each of the gospels has a very different jesus. that's the wonderful thing about the gospels is each has-- each evangelist has his own particular take. >> rose: now why is that? simply because they're different human beings and therefore they saw it in a different way? >> yes. they're reflecting different strandz of early christianity. and by this time, jesus had become such a massive presence in the minds of christians by the time these texts were being written that it couldn't be tied down to anything neat and clear.
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it was paul who really gave us jesus, but he wasn't very interested in jesus, the human being, the man. >> rose: how did he give us jesus, paul? this is your genius. you make these people come alive. that's what you do. >> but they are alive. >> rose: i know. >> they're my friends. >> rose: i know. paul made jesus. how did he make jesus? >> he made jesus a myth. now that may sound terrible but unless a historical figure is in some sense mythologized, made into a timeless reality, he can't be a religious figure. we've debased the word "myth." if a politic is accused a peck dillo in his past life, he will say it's a myth that didn't happen. whereas myth minute something that happened once but also happens all the time.
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it's something timeless. >> rose: so paul made jesus a myth? >> paul brought jesus out of his life span, dying in the year 30, and made him a living reality in the hearts and minds of the christians. he brought him alive. other people were doing it, too, i should imagine, but paul is the one we know about. >> rose: does that make paul the father of christianity? >> yes, when i did my series on st. paul, it was called "the first christian." he was a genius, paul. >> rose: and knew what he was doing. >> yes, but he was feeling for it step by step. he wasn't sitting in a book line study writing in cyclicals. i mean, he was working as an artesian. he had the-- he was working in the greek or roman cities of the empire, working as a tent maker, we think, with other tent mak makers, having to earn his
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living, often on the run, often in prison, writing a lot of his stuff in jail. he was put in prison for disturbing the peace. but what created this theology from the-- in these -- >> now, why did paul choose jesus or jesus choose paul? >> who knows? he, as he says himself, he was opposed to the gospel and then he says he had a revelation, an allock lipsis, which told him he had to bring jesus, the new gospel to the gentiles. he saw jesus as replacing the torra, and instead of encountering jesus in the law, the torra, people would now encounter jesus in the-- god, in the man jesus. and the evangelists see jesus as replacing the temple which had
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been destroyed by the romans. jews had met god in the. jerusalem temple, and when it was destroyed, they-- the theme of the ruinedatismle runs all the way through the gospels. >> rose: do you find any similarity in mohammed and jesus? >> they're very different people living in entirely different circumstances. jesus had the luxury of not becoming head of state. and this was not mohammed's intention, ever to be head of state. the early sources say he will have no political role to play but events and circumstances propelled him forward. and so he found himself having to become a legislator, and even -- >> he was also a warrior, too, wasn't he? >> not really, no. he was a businessman, basically. as all the people of mecca were. they we hopeless soldiers.
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they'd given up battle, and you can see that their wars with one another, what military historians call primitive wars. very stylize, very ritualized things. but mecca, the mecca establishment had vowed to destroy-- to wipe out the muslim community. and so the muslims were fighting for their lives. >> rose: and the interesting thing about mohammed is we know so much more about his life. >> yes. and he was-- he lived a lot later. and the early muslim historians were anxious to present as true a picture as they could. they presented very much wartand all. they show him having trouble with his wives any they include critical remarks that his wives made about him, about other
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people. so you have a rounded figure. you very rarelyue don't see jesus laugh at all. but you mohammed he does laugh. he likes animals. he goes around what his grandchildren on his shoulders. and weeps copeuously when his 'cause sin killed. >> rose: and when mohammed came into being and god spoke to him, he. understood the place of jesus. >> oh, yes. >> rose: therefore, was he informed by that, influenced by that? did he say, "i'm not jesus? i am not the son of god?" >> he made that very clear. he was always very insistent, that the muslims must not do to him what he-- what the christians did to jesus. the. >> rose: which is to--
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>> defy him. i upo am a man like you. and when he died his followers couldn't believe it, and his great friend abu becka stood up in front of the strawt community and said yes, he is dead. and if you can't believe he is not dead, he is god. he is dead, indeed. on the other hand muslims have reproduced the prophet in their lifestyle because their law is based on the imitation of the prophet so that they wash and eat and make love, do you business as they believe the prophet did. and the idea is that by imitating the externals of his life, they will cultivate that spirit of islam or surrender to the divine that enablied him to hear the word of god.
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one of the things that's very interesting is in the early biographies of the prophet, you sigh the effort that the revelations were to him. he would grow pale and sweat, even on a cold day. sometimes he would shake and he would say, "sometimes the message came clearly to him but other times he had to listen for it hard, rather as a poet listens to the poem that's coming word by word. you see him interrogating the event of his time and moving forward to find a different solution for his people. but i think here he is a model for our time but bauz we need-- he shows how difficult it is to utter nothe word of god. >> rose: after making the documentaries on paul, did you then throw yourself into the
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pursuit of understanding religion? >> yes, yes, i did. and for me, my study has become my form of prayer. often when i'm at my desk, i'll have little moments of wonder and awe, and can my jewish friends tell me that's a very jewish kind of spirituality. that's what jews do when -- >> and what's a moment of wonder and awe? >> a lifting of the heart. >> rose: you're touched by...? >> who knows. something. the words speak to me or they touch something deeply within me. >> rose: and you believe you were chosen to do this? >> i don't see god in that way. >> rose: in other words your god doesn't choose. >> i don't see that, really.
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i just love study. >> rose: so where does the purpose of your life come from? i mean, did you just happen-- you didn't quite-- television ended. you didn't get the degree you wanted. so all of a sudden you find yourself propelled forward. you're almost falling, as someone once said, falling forward. >> yes, and it's a very interesting thing. i would never have choicen to do this. it was one event after another and a door would open and i would say, yes, i'll do this. >> rose: because you needed the money. >> i needed the money to do that documentary series. but two things have propelled me on. first was when very early in my studies i counted a phrase from the great islamist louis mes messienam, the science of compassion, which he said this
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is how a historian rnlings a religious historian should approach the past. >> rose: go ahead. >> science not in the sense of physics or chemistry but sciente knowledge. you have to put yourself, you your... enlightenment, oxford-educated self on the back burner, and enter in a scholarly manner into the lives of the people like the prophet mohammed or like the great mystics of past. >> rose: i hear empathy meaning what? did you have to enter his life willing to. >> some of is spirituality, some bizarre to us. we say how crazy. come on. this is ridiculous. who could possibly believe this?
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that's because we look at the world in a different way. when you have recreated in a scholarly manner the cultural, educational, sociological, political things all going on that produced produced this spi. you must keep asking yourself, "but umpt why? but why?" and not leave it until you could imagine yourself in similar circumstances feeling the same. and in doing that, he said, you will broaden your horizons and make place for the other in your mind and heart. and i think that's become my-- that's compassion, to make place for the other, and that requires you to put clever over educated... just to one side. and open out. toots a great joy because your
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life is enriched with all these wonderful thoughts. >> rose: is this too simplistic to say what you have to do is open yourself up to the experience of learning. >> yes, yes. >> rose: does it also mean you do not have to be judgmental at every turn? >> yes. to not judge quickly to not do what i used to do in the days when i was so smart and clever and saying, "this is ridiculous sm of but to say wait and listen again, lisn intently to everything that's going on, and suddenly you'll get it. and you'll find it moving and you suddenly find-- people say to me sometimes, when i hear you talking about thomas aquinas, these are your friends disploaz i said that to you. you bring them alive. they're why you were friend. and that is is only because you were open to finding them, not getting cut off at the path. >> and it's an ongoing thing
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because you're continually delving more. i like getting things clear, t too. >> rose: is there still a part you of, at some point deep into the journey, you regret. >> i do. mostly things that are unkind. over the years i've become really sort of sense tidessed toy clever unkindness, to cruelty. i mean a lot of the past and a lot of religious people in the past have been cruel. and people are judgmental and puritanical and condemning and i hear a lot of it today, you know ncontemporary life. and it. >> rose: you hear cruelty and. >> and sort of sophisticated dismissal of certain things, and some sense of omnicheience, the
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sense that we know all about somebody or we know all about this particular culture based on an article here or a television program there. >> rose: i see upon. our arrogance of, "i know better." >> plus the way we speak to one another. one of the steps in there is how little we know. >> rose: exacte explain that to me. that's a very interesting chapter. >> it's essential, first of all, that we realize that we know very little about one another. when we speak in gossip about, "oh, the trouble with him is..." or, "she always does so-and-so." and what arrogance because i know i am a complete puzz toll myself a great deal of the time. i'm continually finding-- groaz you mean you don't know why you did something? >> yes, i say why on earth dido that? >> rose: or that's not me. or why did i have an instinct i don't like. >> or you have a dream.
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every single one of us represe represents that kind of mystery, and so socrates, foirg, they found the western rational tradition. of, who founded the dialogue form said eye mean, the unexamined life is not worth living, he said. to examine every single one of your receive opinions. the people who came to talk to him always felt they knew what they were talking about. but after half an hour of socrates' relentless questioning, they found they didn't know the first thing about courage or justice. the socratic dialogue, as recorded by plato, always ends up with the participant scratching their heads sp saying we don't know anything disploaz at that moment. >> --
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>> you have become a philosoph philosopher. learning and understanding. you know you seek wisdom, but you know you haven't got it. >> rose: i want to come more about the book but think out loud where we are today in senseless violence. >> about how little we know. so many of the things we thought we got done have feet of clay. our financial institutions have suddenly taken a big jolt. we're facing environmental catastrophe as a possibility. we don't seem to know how to dial with it. international politics-- certainly, it's not working. you look at the mayhem and wars and distbks. so we need, i think. >> rose: and the extraordinary use of levels of violence you never imagined. >> yes. and increasingly, small groups
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are going to have powers of destruction preserved only by the nation state. and that is why i believe that when-- unless we learn to apply the golden rule globally, so that we treat all of nations and all peoples as we would wish to be treated ourselves and develop a global democracy-- not just democracy in our own country but listen to all voice, not just those of the rich and the powerful, and take their aspirations as seriously as we take our own, more and more disaffection will grow. and more and more despair-- when people despair and feel they have nothing to lose, we've seen what happens. >> rose: do you believe that finding compassion is a realistic possibility in 2011? >> we've got to do a lot of
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creative work to see how we implement the golden rule-- never treat other as as you would not wish to be treated yourself-- how do we do this in the 21st century? now some of our partners are undertaking this. we're starting a system of. >> rose: this is a compassion center? >> yes. and seattle declared itself the first u.s. city compassion. these are not a bunch of hippi hippies. these are guys working in mieft and very hard headed and they're, wog on how to translate the charter we've written into business ethics and environmental ethics to start off with. pakistan, how do we educate children to be compassionate? >> rose: do swree to educate them? it raises the question of children being born and they're
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corrupt bide-- >> no, they're little human beings. and our brain weerks have proashes instinct at the base of our brain. and we're wired for compassion as well as for violence. we have these violent impulses when we're threatened, as i explain in the book, very, very strong and they tend to override our altruistic. >> rose: so fear is-- >> every single fundamentalist i have studied is rooted in fear, a profound fear of annihilation, even in this country, people in small town america have felt colonized by the, what is to them, an alienation of harvard, yale, washington. certainly in the muslim world, in the jewish world, if you
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think jewish fundamentalism took two steps forward, one after the nazi holocaust when hitler had tried to eliminate... and second after the 1973 war of yon i can pur, when israel suddenly felt isolated and afraid. but of course in may be quarters that fear is hardening into rage. and we need to listen to these fears because a lot of these movements are expressing, often in a very distorted way, fears and anxietys that no society can safely ignore. >> rose: i'm also struck by people who profile people who seem to be clearly by impression and behavior suffering from some kind of mental illness, that the people who study them always come to some point that there
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was a paranoia and fear and victimization, and that somehow that connected to some act of violence. >> yes, and i think that-- you see, look at that, the rapture ethos here. this is a very terrifying ideology that god is so disgusted with the world he's going to smash into it with a violent catastrophe. there will be bloodshed. the fact that so many people. >> rose: where does that come from? >> i'm afraid it was the invention of a 19th century british man called john nelson darvey. and he got no takers in the u.k., but when he came to the united states, he made six lecture tours, and he was a great success.
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it's an entirely new modern reading of the book of revelation. >> rose: in what way is the united states different from the rest of the world in terms of religion? >> it's a very religious country, much more religious than my own country, britain, for example. >> rose: and france. >> and france and holland and western europe generally. >> rose: what about different from the middle east? >> uhm, well, you're successful and rich, and the middle east is experiencing the after-effects of colonialism and defeat and war, so that has tinged their religious experience. >> rose: does it make religion somehow a crutch? >> it's. >> rose: or something very different from that. religion becomes a place that gives meaning. >> yes, religion does give
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meaning. >> rose: and direction. >> in places like the middle east, what happened after the 1960s, was that people felt that the nationalism, socialism, these western ideologys that had been introduced into the middle east to create the nation state, had failed them. the defeat in 1967 of the arab armies by israel. this completely-- so there was a big swing back to religion. and in many ways it's an attempt to say let's get back to what is authent toik us before the british and the french arrive, before the west arrived, so that we can go back to our roots, as it were, and start to grow more authentically again. but of course, in an embattled situation, when people feel under threat and that their backs are to the wall, they can
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lash out violently, and very often in their viet to protect their faith, they actually distort it. it's the-- and that applies to most fundamentalist movements. the fear is. -- again, it is such that there's a-- it tinges everything. a lot of violent movements that we have seen have developed in regions that have been given over to chronic warfare-- afghanistan, pakistan, israel, palestine. and when people see violence on a daily basis, this affects everything they do. it affects their dreams and their relationships and their aspirations, and it affects their religion. modernity, after all, has been
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spectacularly violent. we've created the technology to kill people in greater numbers than ever before. the 20th century was a catastrophe in many ways. >> rose: is it obvious that you chose "12 steps" as the title of this book? >> well, yes, obviously it has resonances with alcoholics anonymous and that is quite intentional because i think we are addicted to our likes and dislikes, our prejudices. we have our pet hates, we call them, and we depend upon them for our sense of self. and sometimes when we. >> rose: we're defined by our hates? >> yes. we very often say-- when we really inveigh against someone, they're the opposite of us. they're everything that we hope we are not. we play fear that we are.
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and when we utter cleverly wounding a brilliant remark, we have a buzz of triumph, rather like the first hit of the day. but, of course, it also poisons us, just as an addiction does. it poisons ourselves and it poisons the intellectual atmosphere and social atmosphere. >> rose: we talked only about one chapter, the preface, wish for a better world. the first step is learn about compassion. the second step is look at your own world. the third step is compassion for yourself. the fourth step is empathy. the fifth step is mindfulness. what does that mean? >> it's a buddhist phrase. to watch the way you behave. just-- a., to live in the moment. most of the time we're often think ago we're worried about what's going to happen tomorrow or regretting what happened
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yesterday. live in the moment but watch yourself. not in any neurotic way, but just take note of the number of times you are impatient or unkind to other people. just take note, and notice, too, how when people speak sharply or unkindly to you, how it can wound you. make a note of it, and make. >> rose: because if you internalize it you are more sensitive to using it. >> yes. just note your behavior. that segues into step six, which is action. you notice how a kind act can lighten your day. try every day to do one kind act-- phoning an elderly relative. giving someone a smile. >> rose: how easy it is. >> yes. once a day. then when that's become absolutely routine, up you your game and go for two, then three,
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then four, and then at the end you'll be living the golden rule as confucius said-- you should do all day, every day, and you'll become a sage. >> rose: then you said step eight-- seven is how lith we know-- ability is how we should speak to one another. >> so much of our discourse, political, in the media, in academia, is so vicious. it's often the way we conduct our debates and dialogues. very different from the socratic diwhich had to be conducted with gentleness socrates said. no one must be pushed to where he doesn't want to go. there must be a cord between participantses. and very often, dialogue, when we say we're going to enter into dialogue with x., it means we want to bludgeon him to accept our point of of view. in fact, there's no point of going into dialogue unless
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you're prepared to be changed by the encounter and rich, probably. >> rose: you make a strong case for being willing to be open to access new ideas and new experiences and new information and new compassion. then there's knowledge. concern for everybody, then there's knowledge. then there's recognition. what's recognition? >> at this time instead of concentrating on our own communities we're beginning to look more globally at different communities around the world and realizing that. the profound oneness that we have, by this time-- this is a cumulative process, so each step becomes a part of your listen, rather like alcoholics anonymous, the 12 steps. so by this time you should be seeing-- for example.
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you've learned about your own suffering, your own pain, and you're also becoming wairp that everybody suffers, even our enemies suffer. >> rose: 12th step. >> love your enemies. now, that's jesus' remark. and it needs a bit of tecoding. >> rose: jesus was for bipartisanship. >> he was doing a ridmash, a rabbinic ridmash, love your neighbor as yourself. and he said, "go further. love your enemy." livi, ticus is-- jesus is not asking us, i don't think, to feel affection for osama bin laden or tenderness or assume rawdry. basically, love was a legal word used in international trities. two kings would promise to love
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one another, former enemies, they had to love one another. it didn't mean they fell into each other's arms. it meant they would be loyal to each other. they would look out for each other's best interests. they would come to give them practical aid whenever they could. >> rose: and they would find common ground. >> they would come to their defense. this is the kind of love we can and must give. >> rose: what was the genius of jesus? >> the genius of jesus i think was to-- he was a-- well, i had watched the chinese sage called yan i, concern for everybody. he didn't confine himself to a select group. he went out always to meet the wrong prime, to be with people who were despised by the establishment.
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>> rose: and what made him that way? expwhrirks who knows. >> rose: last word, last paragraph. a person who is impartial, fair, calm, gentle, surein, accepting and open hearted is indeed a refuge. and the person of the buddha gone beyond the limitation many experienced a humanity that made them feel life was endurable. a truly compassionate person touches a cord in us that resonates with some of our deepest yearnings. people flock to such individuals because they seem to provide a haven of peace. even if we achieve only a fraction of this enlightenment and leave the world marge nail better because we have lived in it, our lives will have been worthwhile." there's no more to be said. we know what we have to do. this is the end of the work, but our work is just beginning. this is your work today. >> this is my work today. i-- it's absorbing.
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i'm traveling all the time doing this. i'm very concerned, though, that the charter and this work of compassion shouldn't just be the karen armstrong show. because if something happens to me the whole thing will drop dead. we're hoping that some of our partners will also start traveling and speaking about-- and it's happening. we've only been going for a year. so our work is just beginning. >> rose: "12 stops a compassionate life." my great appreciation to karen armstrong for this hour. thank you. >> thank you, thank you, charlie, thank you. >> rose: thank you for joining us. see you next time. ooirngthsdzy captioning sponsored by rose communications captioned by media access group at wgbh access.wgbh.org
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